Players passed over in favor of...

Hindsight is 20/20; take a look at your favorite team’s draft history, any sport that has a draft.

What are some of their worst calls, i.e. players they passed over in order to draft someone else who ended up being a chump, or at least not close to a comparable player?

A classic example of this would of course be Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan. While Bowie was a serviceable, if injury-prone, player who played 10 years in the NBA, obviously in hindsight the Trail Blazers probably should have taken chance on that Jordan guy.

Houston Rockets, 1983, used the #3 pick to take Rodney McRae instead of local favorite Clyde Drexler. Oops.

Houston Oilers, 1987, #3 pick Alonzo Highsmith; Rod Woodson went tenth.

The Wizards (unfortunately) being my NBA team, they’ve had a lot of draft blunders over the years, but their worst oversight was probably in the 2001 draft, when they chose Kwame Brown #1 overall. While they did eventually end up with one of the better players in that draft (Gilbert Arenas), looking over that list they would have been better off had they drafted practically anyone besides Kwame Brown. :smack:

It was Clyde’s presence on the Trailblazers that made them think they didn’t need Jordan. Maybe that was the right move, but tthey should have at least taken Charles Barkley, who was also available in that draft.

The Packers had a big one in 1989: they had the second pick in the draft. Of the first five men selected, four went to the Hall of Fame:

#1: Troy Aikman (Dallas)
#3: Barry Sanders (Detroit)
#4: Derrick Thomas (Kansas City)
#5: Deion Sanders (Atlanta)

The Packers, at #2, picked offensive tackle Tony Mandarich, a man who can thank Ryan Leaf for, several years later, taking the title of “Worst Draft Flop” away. Things might have looked a little different in GB if they’d picked Thomas, or either of those Sanderses.

A little less famously or obviously: in '79, the Packers could have used a quarterback. Their starter was David Whitehurst, who really wasn’t that good, and they were still waiting for the injury-prone Lynn Dickey to come back from a bad injury which had cost him the '78 season. In the first two rounds, they drafted Eddie Lee Ivery and Steve Atkins (neither of whom lived up to potential, due to injury). In the third round, they drafted a forgettable defensive lineman named Charles Johnson, and left a somewhat undersized Notre Dame QB (who, nonetheless, knew how to win) on the table…one Joe Montana.

Trailblazers take Greg Oden over Kevin Durant in 2007.

In 1985, Mavericks take Detlef Schrempf over Karl Malone.

In 1998, Milwaukee agrees to trade draft picks with Dallas swapping Dirk Nowitzki for Robert “Tractor” Traylor.

In '99, the Vikings were coming off a 15-1 season and an NFC Championship Game loss. It looked like they could build on that with a solid draft pick (#11?) and WIN NOW. They passed on Jevon Kearse, who filled a “need” position and I think was Defensive Rookie of the Year so that they could get their qb of the future, Daunte Culpepper. The Vikings got their first round DE, but it ended up being Demetrius Underwood and he never contributed anything of note on the field. The Vikings didn’t do as well in '99 because Randall Cunningham had injuries and they just didn’t have the same magic. But a new impact DE on near-Super Bowl team could/should have put them over the top and it made no sense to not try and win now. That wasn’t a good draft for Minnesota.

Houston was the team that really blew that draft. At the time they had the No. 1 pick and Ralph Sampson. They used the no. 1 pick on Akeem Olajuwon, which was no mistake certainly, but they should’ve traded Sampson to Portland for the No. 2 pick, and then taken Jordan. The would’ve ruled the NBA for the next decade.

Well, think of the class of 1979.

Almost every scout was dead certain that Jack Thompson, the “Throwin’ Samoan,” was THE can’t miss quarterback in the draft, with Steve Fuller just a hair behind. That’s why moist Giants fans BOOED when the team announced that Phil Simms was their #1 draft pick.

The Giants have no reason to regret their pick, but… there were two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks in that pool. Joe Montana lasted until the 3rd round. And Warren Moon wasn’t drafted at all.

IIRC didn’t Underwood walk out of training camp for “religious reasons” and never actually play for the Vikings? And taken right behind him, Patrick Kerney. Kerney took a couple years to develop, but thrived once they (the Falcons) switched back to the 4-3. Could have been a good player for the Vikings.

I don’t remember all the details, but my guess is that he never played for the Vikings and ended up resurfacing with the Dolphins. He didn’t do much there, either. I know he was threatening suicide in training camp (either did or attempted to stab himself in the neck) along with finding religion.

Typo of the day. :smiley:

I’m usually willing to excuse a team if their player busted and a player with a more productive career was taken several picks later. It’s an inexact science, of course. But sometimes a player is taken early in the draft and all the surrounding picks become good or great players. Like…

2003 Detroit Pistons selected Darko Milicic #2 overall, just after LeBron James. The next 3 picks? Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade. Oof.

Yeah that’s pretty rough. Possibly worse than the '89 NFL draft that kenobi 65 mentioned in post #5, because a superstar player means so much more in basketball, but mitigated by the fact that the Pistons at the time already had a championship-caliber team (and did in fact win the NBA Championship his rookie year).

Reason Detroit passed on Darko: Brown hated coaching young players. Kenobi-Derrick Thomas isn’t in Canton yet.

Brien Taylor getting taken 1st overall by the Yankees, passing on Manny Ramirez.

Every team in the NFL in 2000, when Tom Brady was a sixth-round pick.

Kenobi-I am wrong about Thomas. My apologies.

1983 NFL draft - the Kansas City Chiefs picked QB Todd Blackledge in the first round over Jim Kelly and Dan Marino, who both went on to Hall of Fame careers.

Marino fell because of unfounded drug rumors.